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New PC Cards, Devices and Drives

Cars aren’t the only things with aftermarket accessories, additional PC accessories can improve performance and add extended capabilities to your laptop or desktop.

Accessorizing your computer can sometimes be like putting lipstick on a pig: No matter how much lipstick you put on, it’s still a pig. But there are some cards, devices and drives that will boost your performance or extend your computer’s capabilities.

Internal Hard Drives

If you’re looking to add an internal hard drive to your PC, we recommend a solid-state drive (SSD). An SSD is more reliable than a conventional hard drive, because it has no moving parts. Additionally, they run five to six times faster than a standard hard drive.

SSDs are most often used as internal drives since their speed will significantly increase your computer’s performance. Solid-state drives have limited storage capacity — currently reaching (and exceeding) 480GB — so they’re much better suited for running system software, games and applications, rather than for archiving data. Staples can install an SSD into your computer.

External Hard Drives

Conventional external hard drives are ideal as backup devices. They’re easy to use and small enough to fit on your desk. Over the past few years, their prices have dropped and their capacity has grown.

Flash and card drives are ideal for moving data between devices, but have slow data-transfer rates and are prone to getting lost. Some flash and card drives can encrypt and password-protect your data, so if you lose the drive you probably won’t lose your job! New flash drives that use USB 3.0 will transfer data ten times faster than those with USB 2.0.

Video Cards

Most high-end computers come with good graphics cards already installed, but older or less-expensive computers can see a performance improvement by adding a new video card. It takes processing pressure off of your computer’s central processing unit (CPU), and handles everything needed to generate visuals and support high-definition displays and multiple monitors. A video card increases the rendering and performance of most computer games and graphic-oriented programs.

Webcams, Tablets and Going Wireless

With the rise of free video-chat software such as Skype and MSN Messenger, webcams (cameras) are becoming more popular. Many newer PCs come with cameras and microphones built into them, but usually they are neither high definition (HD) nor high quality. For better sound and picture quality, many users prefer a third-party webcam.

Pen tablets, which allow you to use a pen-shaped stylus in place of a mouse, are common additions for graphic artists’ computers, but non-artists are using them as a mouse substitute. People with carpal tunnel syndrome or other hand/wrist issues may find using a pen to be much less stressful to use than a mouse, though the learning curve for switching to a new input device can be stressful at first.

Wireless keyboards and mice are also in demand today. This combo can be used to navigate and watch Internet TV, as well as operate your PC.

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